Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Author Carolyn Turgeon visits Philly, shares knowledge of swan maidens, mermaids and fairy godmothers

It was my pleasure this past Sunday to attend a reading of Carolyn Turgeon's new novel "The Next Full Moon" at the home of one of her dear friends in Philadelphia.

It was my second visit to the home of actress Trillian Stars (aka Jennifer Summerfield) and her photographer/author husband Kyle Cassidy for a reading by Carolyn, a high school classmate of mine. Click here to see my March 2011 blog about Carolyn's reading of her then-new and equally magical novel, "Mermaid."

Carolyn, who is the author of three previous novels ("Rain Village," "Godmother" and Mermaid") took on a new challenge with "The Next Full Moon" (Downtown Books, 192 pp., March 2012, $7.99) writing for an audience of 9- to 12-year-olds.

My friends Maria and Brandie accompanied me on this fun-filled afternoon in Philly, and Brandie so nicely agreed to take some video of Carolyn as she prepared to read an excerpt from her book (Notice the well-done cinematography ... thanks Brandie). 


The uber-poised and gracious Carolyn read to a living room full of supporters of all ages from the book, which is about a young girl named Ava who is horrified to find that she's growing feathers. Ava incidentally resides in a college town in the middle of Pennsylvania. Carolyn said I might recognize some of the settings from our hometown of State College and Penn State University, but noted that other inspiration came from her childhood memories of Michigan. 

Next was a short concert by amazing vocalinist (violinist/vocalist) Monique Canniere and talented guitarist-friend John. Monique played a few fairytale-influenced songs, accompanied by her ethereal vocal stylings. John, whose last name I'm sorry I didn't learn, added some original Celtic tunes. The music was really lovely.

Afterward, Carolyn noted that she was headed back to central PA to complete a revision on her NEXT new book, "The Fairest of Them All," which she said is about Rapunzel growing up to be Snow White's grandmother. And then, the jet-setting authoress is on her way to  Alaska to teach in an MFA program this summer. Makes a small-town journalist's life seem so ... not magical!

But I digress ... back to "The Next Full Moon." Here's a description from the publisher:

This thoroughly compelling, gorgeously told tale begins as the weather turns warm enough to swim in the local lake. Ava is on the brink of her twelfth birthday, and her crush, Jeff, is most definitely taking notice of her. Everything is going beautifully. Until Ava starts to grow feathers — all over her shoulders, arms, and back. Horrified, mortified, and clad in a turtleneck, she hides out in her bedroom, missing her dead mother and worrying about the summer, and the rest of her freakish life...

Carolyn Turgeon has a gift for imagining magical worlds. In Ava’s case, this otherworldly place belongs to the Swan Maidens, one of whom is Ava’s mother. Ava goes back and forth between middle school and this magical realm, taking the reader along for an exhilarating, extraordinary ride.

Brandie behind the camera, at left, and Maria listen to Carolyn
Click here to go to Carolyn's blog and view her full bio. 

Notably, Carolyn said it took her 10 years to complete her first novel, "Rain Village," (published in 2006) while working full-time. She said while she very much enjoys crafting the lovingly researched fairy-tale inspired stories, and may have more of those up her prettily-tatted sleeve, she also has a detective novel in the works.

Can't wait to read it (and hear Carolyn read from it!)

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